Spotted: 1986 Cadillac Cimmaron
While people with short memories are acting all surprised and shit that General Motors is on the verge of going out of business, long-time car nerds have known it was inevitable for decades. Remember 1982 and the borrowed hype surrounding the "J-cars"? Why does it only occur to me now what an obvious swipe at Chrysler this was? J comes before K, get it? Clever, guys. Let's go down the list: Chevy Cavalier, everyone knows that. Slightly more obscure: the Buick Skyhawk. Pontiac? J2000! (Later simply 2000, later still the 2000 Sunbird, and finally just Sunbird. Why is this information taking up useful space in my brain?) And of course – of course – the Oldsmobile Firenza. Remember Oldsmobile? Remember Pontiac?
And then there was this. The one variant anybody remembers, if only for the embarrassment factor. People were used to GM cars being garbage by this point. After years of Vegas, Chevettes and Citations, nobody was surprised by another shitbox Chevy. The name Cadillac still put one in mind of better days though, and so when the crest and wreath was slapped on the J-body it got people's attention, and not in the way the marketers had hoped. A shitbox Chevy was one thing; a shitbox Cadillac something else. Didn't Cadillac use to be "the standard of the world" or something like that? Didn't it symbolize all that was once admirable about America? The Cimmaron was a reminder of just how far we'd sunk.
Ironic then – cause for cautious optimism, perhaps? – that Cadillac is one of the few things GM needn't be embarrassed about in 2009, ignoring the Escalade for the moment. The same company responsible for the Cimmaron now tests its cars on the Nürburgring. Go figure. Time will tell if that's enough to save its corporate parent from oblivion.
I'm calling this an '86 because that was the first year, near as I can tell, for those sweet-ass Euro-style flush headlights. Love the tasteful two-tone and ribbed lower body moulding, too. And the red rub strip, very GTI. Actually I kinda do like that. Sue me.